If you have found yourself stumbling across Tara Chandra's colourful Instagram or TikTok feed of late, or of...ever, you'll instantly be able to tell that the digital fashion influencer has a knack for sourcing special vintage pieces. Her eclectic style is often a mix between covetable trend pieces and rare vintage finds, a market that has only expanded in the past two years, with reselling sites like eBay reporting pre-loved fashion has become mainstream since 45 percent of Australians surveyed reported that they had increased their purchases of pre-loved fashion in the past two years. If there is anyone who knows how to nail a pre-loved purchase, it's Chandra, who, below, provides RUSSH her best tips for shopping vintage.
What are your top rules for sourcing vintage and pre loved items?
For online shopping specifically, use filters, keywords and synonyms for what you're searching for. Be patient – sometimes you can find yourself scrolling through websites with thousands of items for sale, like eBay, which has a huge range of designer and vintage options. I look through everything to ensure I don’t miss out on finding gems. Be a conscious shopper! Just because something is cheap doesn't mean you need it. Altering pre-loved clothes is always an option. Paint your denim, turn the printed top into a two-piece set, and sew scrunchies out of the off-cuts.
Where are your main destinations for sourcing vintage and pre loved?
Online, I like browsing on eBay, especially for designer items and luxury pre-loved pieces that can be authenticated with their Authenticity Guarantee. Op shops are my go-to for in-person shopping. I love seeing pieces in real life and trying them on.
What draws you to vintage pieces vs new?
I’ve always loved vintage and second-hand clothing more than new clothing because you can find unique, exclusive pieces you may not see in-store again. It’s also a great way to find more affordable pieces, giving them a new home rather than going to landfill.
What percentage of your closet is vintage or pre loved?
If you asked me five years ago, my closet would have been 50% pre-loved. As I get gifted new items through work, that percentage has reduced. However, I’m particular about what I choose to consume and purchase.
Sometimes when we are shopping vintage, the decision to make a purchase can feel overwhelming because of its “one-off” nature. How do you decide if a piece is right for you or just impulse?
I used to shop with this mindset. But over the past few years, I’ve made sure to answer yes to all the below questions before making any purchase: Does it fit well? Can I think of at least three outfits off the top of my head styling this piece? Does the price match the quality, style and how often I will wear it? Can I see myself wearing this in 2 years?
Tell us about your favourite vintage piece in your wardrobe…
I have so many favourites. I own a lot of second-hand pieces that aren’t necessarily vintage. But, a few pieces that I will always hold close to me are my grandpa’s vintage jackets. I have a Burberry reversible jacket and YSL yellow cardigan which I picked out when he passed away 11 years ago.